Our Holy Father. Heed him, help him, pray for him.

     Over the weekend the children - all God's children - flocked to touch the Holy Father who patiently stood for hours in the searing heat to be near these people. Yesterday Pope John Paul II left Africa just as Bill Clinton was arriving on the dark continent where throngs turned out to meet him, but he retreated after a few handshakes because of the crush of the crowd and, after all, it was so hot! You can draw your own conclusions. Meanwhile, as the Holy Father was winging his way back to Rome he received the news of the death of a dear, beloved bishop, one of the more loyal prelates in the United States - Archbishop John R. Keating, who like Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz, Archbishop Charles Chaput and Bishop John Myers, to name a few, have remained fiercely dedicated to his holiness in the face of liberal opposition among their peers. Archbishop Keating, 63, died of a massive heart attack at the Oblates residence just a few blocks from St. Peter's. His archdiocese, one of the largest sees in the country, had become the model for vocations with the fruits evident to all. His influence and his loyal obedience which he instilled with love in all God's children in his archdiocese and the constituents of his see will be sorely missed.

     Once again the media made a point to emphasize the "frail pope" in every story on his trip to Nigeria. Once in a while they mentioned that the temperature was in the high nineties with humidity to match. Again, we hammer home the point that we know of no 77-years old who keeps the kind of non-stop schedule John Paul maintains constantly. But the liberals within the media want to continue to subliminally give the impression that this "feeble, old man" should be replaced. Folks, he'll be replaced when God determines it's time to call his beloved and loyal pope-son home, and not until then! Please tell us of any other global leader in present time, or for that matter, over the course of this entire century and before that who had so much impact in a topsy-turvy world where morals have gone askew and the only sane voice emanating anywhere originates in Rome. He initiated the decline of communism, he has brought despots to their knees in submission to his stern plea for justice, he has not been timid in dealing with presidents, premiers, kings, queens, diplomats and celebrities in asserting what is right. And he has done so in such a gentle, but loving manner that it rarely offends anyone outright, but sure gets them to do some serious soul-searching, even though some have their minds already made up - have already made their pact with the devil. If anyone can bring peace to Kosovo, to Iraq, to Africa, to Cuba; if anyone can establish diplomatic relations with Red China, can make inroads with the Russian and Greek Orthodox Churches, can carry the flame of truth to the third world countries and stand against the promoters of the culture of death and not blink - it is John Paul the Great! Pope Leo I received that title, as did Pope Saint Gregory the Great and a few others have had that label added after their name such as the Greek conquerer Alexander and the man who opened Rome to the Catholic Church Constantine the Great. Few in the last several centuries can claim such a lofty title or deserve it. Such men as Abraham Lincoln, Pope Leo XIII, Pope Saint Pius X, and Winston Churchill could be considered, but all would pale in comparison to the quiet accomplishments of this modern-day saint who we all know is in the twilight of a holy and dedicated life to His Lord and Master and that Master's special Holy Mother to whom John Paul has dedicated his entire papacy to. We pray that he can outlast his critics, that God will keep him with us for a few more years, years that will test our very fiber both in the Church and in the world.

     Our Lady has foretold visionaries and messengers from Rue de Bac on that these times we are presently in will be the culmination of all she foretold in preparation for the Second Pentecost, the New Advent, the Era of Peace, the glorious Reign of the Sacred Heart. But before this renewal can happen, there must be a purification both throughout the earth and within man's heart and soul. This purification - a form of chastisement - is upon us and will grow steadily more severe as we near the millennium. But we have Our Lady's messages to Father Don Stefano Gobbi in which she confirmed that her Immaculate Heart, which she promised at Fatima would be victorious, would be just that before the end of this millennium. Folks, that's less than two years!!! And besides the Blessed Mother, who else is preparing us for this? None other than that "frail, weak old man" who should go down as one of the greatest heroes in modern history. But he's not looking for the plaudits or for the recognition from the world, for like the Jewish Carpenter he follows, his "kingdom" - his domain is not of this earth. He is the spiritual leader of our Church and in the last few decades he has been the spiritual leader of the world. But, like that Man Who was hailed on Sunday and hung on a cross on Friday, he knows the persecution ahead and willingly accepts the cup...not for himself, but for those who he loves and cares so deeply for - all God's children! Heed him, help him, pray for him.

Michael Cain, editor

Daily CATHOLIC          March 24, 1998